Boeing has been awarded approximately $188 million by the US Air Force (USAF) for the continued development and production of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). Upon completion of design and development, the program is estimated to generate $2.5 billion in sales to the USAF.
The SDB is a 250-pound class precision-guided weapon launched from a fighter, bomber or unmanned aircraft that will destroy targets from a range of greater than 40 miles and penetrate more than four feet of steel-reinforced concrete.
Boeing will build an estimated 24,000 weapons and 2,000 carriages over the next 10 years at its production facility in St. Charles, Missouri, with the first delivery scheduled in October 2005.
The SDB will be fielded on the F-15E and subsequently on the F/A-22, F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter), Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems, and almost all other weapons platforms.
‘Aircrews must have an all-weather precision weapon available that can destroy a wide range of targets with lethality while minimising collateral damage,’ said George Muellner, senior vice president and general manager, Air Force Systems, for Boeing. ‘SDB is that weapon and our talented team is committed to delivering it.’
The SDB size, a compact 70 inches long and 7.5 inches wide, allows for an increased weapons load on each aircraft. Carriages designed by Boeing hold four SDBs (internally or externally) and quadruple the number of possible targets destroyed per combat sortie.